Strength – Transformational Tarot

Transformational Tarot Strength

Transformational Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: A triumph of love over hate, compassion over cruelty, awareness over ignorance and fear. The seeker has great courage and inner strength adn will need this sense of control with an unpredictable situation. Gentle mastery. Mind over matter. The courage to take risks. Attainment at considerable peril.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: The Strength card (as I may have already mentioned) holds a special place in my heart. It is the card associated with my zodiac sign (Leo) and I usually love the imagery on the card. This card does have a fairy tale quality to it. The dragon doesn’t appear fearsome or fire-breathing and the way it is drawn on the card contrasts with the more realistic depiction of the maiden. She is calm and unworried, willing to get close to the dragon. She has no fear and trusts that her good intentions are clear to the dragon. There is a sense of purity and peace in this image – the maiden’s heart is pure and she holds only good intentions towards the dragon. Her trust and love convey themselves to the dragon and help keep is serene and harmless.  The butterfly reinforces the peacefulness and serenity of the energy in this card. It may seem to be an odd pairing but the maiden understands that her love and trust will always keep her safe from the dragon and the dragon knows that she presents no danger to him.

They are an unlikely team, partners in whatever faces them down the road ahead. The dragon can offer the maiden protection and safety, while in return the maiden offers love and caring. Any fears she may have had towards the dragon have been allayed. She sees beyond the frightening exterior to the heart of the beast. And in loving the beast, she learns to love that side of herself as well.

Having recently re-read The Hobbit, this card reminds me of one of the lessons Bilbo Baggins learns. By consorting with dwarves, wizards and elves, fighting Wargs, goblins and spiders and helping to find the dwarves’ treasure, Bilbo finds an inner strength and courage to defy traditional hobbit behavior. He may no longer be quite respectable to other hobbits but he has learned to be true to himself and found the strength to stay true to his course despite societal disapproval.

Deck Review – Minoan Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

Okay – I want to start off with full disclosure, I received a copy of the Minoan Tarot from Ellen Lorenzi-Prince for the purposes of writing a review. I consider Ellen a friend but don’t think that will impact my review, I just want readers of this blog to be fully informed.

So, I first got a glimpse at this deck when Ellen brought its prototype to a past Readers Studio. I remember looking at the deck and feeling that it wasn’t one I might feel compelled to add to my collection. The art was lovely but I’ve never felt a real attraction to Minoan culture. In fact what I know about Minoan culture can probably be counted on one hand:

  • Minoan culture thrived on Crete and Thera before the advent of Mycenaean Greece
  • It was severely devastated by the volcanic eruption on Thera
  • It’s where the myths of the Minotaur and his labyrinth are centered
  • Among other artistic and athletic endeavors, it celebrated bull leapers (or is it bull dancers) – youths who trained to leap over bulls and display other acrobatic prowess not necessarily related to competitive endeavors.

I hope that working with this deck will give me a greater appreciation for and knowledge of  Minoan culture.

The deck is packaged in a sturdy cardboard box with an accompanying companion booklet. The booklet offers a brief introduction to Minoan art, civilization and culture as well as information about the origins of the artwork incorporated into each card. There is a lightheartedness and joyfulness to many of the images, giving me the sense that Minoan culture didn’t take themselves too seriously. I don’t get the sense of pompousness and elitism that I often feel from Greek & Roman art – as though they’re above human frailties and emotions.

According to the companion booklet, “The suits of the Minor Arcana, Earth, Sea, Sky, and Art, illustrate the great powers present in the lives of the Minoans. Earth shows children of the Mountain Mother, Sea for companions of the Ocean Father, Sky for the Lady of Heaven and Art for their own expressions of humanity. Sea and Sky are used rather than the more abstract Water and Air because these represent realms of the divine rather than elemental concepts.

The number cards for Earth, Sea, and Sky portray living creatures of those realms, as one of the hallmarks of Minoan art and religion is their exuberant embrace of the natural world around them. The number cards for the Art suit show Minoan people engaged in everyday activities.

The Minoans had no known numerology. The images are assigned to the cards by the correspondence of their energies alone. Also, they do not represent a progression of quantity , but rather stand for the selected qualities, no one of which is greater than another. The key concepts for the Ace through Ten are:

Ace – Individuality
Two – Sensitivity
Three – Creativity
Four – Practicality
Five – Adaptability
Six – Harmony
Seven – Spirituality
Eight – Power
Nine – Consciousness
Ten – Transformation

The Court Cards in the Minoan Tarot are Worker, Priestess, Master, and Mistress. The Workers relates with the energy of the suit in a physical and practical way. The Priestess expresses spiritual direction and action. The Master and Mistress are aspects of the God and Goddess as represented in the realm of Earth, Sea, Sky and Art.”

As an introduction to the deck, I asked “What will this deck teach me?” I drew Art Five, Visionary (Hermit) reversed and Earth Seven reversed. Before looking at the book, my interpretation is that working with this deck will be a struggle but it will be a fun, playful one. It will help me explore areas within myself and connect with my inner spirit but it will be an uphill climb inward. If I want to get the most from this deck I will need to be persistent and stubborn to receive the maximum benefit.

Minoan Art Five Minoan Visionary Minoan Earth Seven

For each card, Ellen offers a background on the symbolism and what it is believed to have represented to the Minoans. She also explains the origins of the artwork as well as three messages from each card. Here are the messages for the three cards I drew:

Art Five

  • Do it. Show people what you’ve got
  • Respect your rules but push your boundaries
  • Your struggle will make you stronger. Consider if it will make you wiser.

Visionary

  • Seek the thousand inner senses
  • What shines cannot be seen at noon
  • Give yourself time for wisdom to grow

Earth Seven

  • Leave the crowd behind to get a clearer look at the whole
  • Have no fear of a challenge, you are up to it.
  • Take the path a step at a time. Make each step sure, strong and agile.

I think each of these messages fits with my take on the card, which means that while these card meaning might not be standard RWS, they are somewhat intuitive.

A few other favorite cards I pulled from the deck include:

Minoan Art Eight Minoan Earth Worker Minoan Sea Ace Minoan Sky Ten

Art Eight, Earth Worker, Sea Ace, Sky Ten – these cards give you a taste of how Minoans viewed the world around them and their connection to it.  They seem to play with the bulls rather than trying to dominate and control them.  There is a lightness and playfulness to the art that vibrates off the cards.  I want to dance and play with these charming people and the creatures that inhabit their world.

Minoan Oracle Minoan Earth Priestess

I especially love the images on the Oracle and Earth Priestess because they show two different aspects of the Snake Goddess, one of my favorite goddess images. She touches my heart with her serenity and simple strength. She has no fear of the snakes and wears them as ornamentation to show her connection with them. I don’t get a sense of domination but of collaboration and cooperation.  I can almost hear them whispering secret knowledge in her ears as she nods her head in understanding.

Minoan Ecstasy

Ecstasy also makes me smile. The dancing priestess is lost in her groove. I feel a sense of ecstasy and pure joy shine through this card. It reminds me of a line from a 70s song Magnet and Steel, “You’re a woman who’s lost in your song.” She has surrendered to the rhythms coursing through her body and celebrates them. She is not truly lost forever but is in a moment of trance, of divine connection. She reminds me of a Sufi dervish, using her dance to create an ecstatic trance state that connects her with the sacred; with the Universe.

There are many lovely cards in this deck all offering glimpses into Minoan art and culture but does that make it a good Tarot deck? I’m sure we’ve all had experiences of purchasing a deck that looks lovely but doesn’t speak to us (I’m something refer to this as a dumb ditz deck). If a deck is lovely to look at but has no depth or character then I often find them useless. I don’t feel this way about this deck. In fact I’d describe it as just the opposite – I think this deck will prove to have quite a learning curve because there is so much meaning and symbolism to be unearth and teased out from each card. This deck strikes me as one that will lead its users down the path to learning more about Minoan culture so that you can acquire greater depth of understanding the symbolism and meanings of these cards. Of course I also think it’s entirely possible to work with this deck and use the imagery to develop your own intuitive meanings without any further knowledge of Minoan culture. It’s a matter of preference.

My biggest complaint about this deck is it’s size. They are the same size as the Dark Goddess Tarot which means the deck will be difficult to shuffle for someone with small hands. I consider myself to have medium-size hands and I find them a challenge. So I will give the deck a borderectomy (I have grown to dislike borders on my Tarot cards) and that should make shuffling the cards easier. Oh and I would love it if Ellen created a longer, more detailed companion book but I digress.

So, to wrap it all up – do I recommend this deck? It depends. If you find yourself drawn to ancient cultures I think you will find much in this deck to feed your interests. If you are interested in learning a bit about an ancient culture that was less aggressive and misogynistic but no less cultured and civilized than Mycenaean Greece, this deck will intrigue you. If you seek decks that challenge you to expand your horizons and explore new perspectives and meanings for the cards, this deck will enthrall you. If you want to support privately printed, small batch published decks then this will fit your bill.

I will admit that prior to actually seeing this deck I was on the fence about acquiring it. The likelihood is that I would have purchased it to support Ellen if for no other reason. Now that I’ve played with it a bit and explored it energies I am eager to give it a longer test run and see where it takes me. The artwork is lovely and calls to something within me I wasn’t even aware existed. It tantalizes me like sunlight sparkling across a still lake. It shimmers and dazzles but in a quiet, understated manner like a classic beauty who is at first overshadowed her her more showy, extroverted sisters but whose true value is soon acknowledge and honored.

So if you haven’t already done so, get your copy of the delightfully delicious Minoan Tarot here

And if you’re still up in the air about purchasing a copy, you can read additional reviews here

Strength – Mansions of the Moon Tarot

Mansions of the Moon Strength

Mansions of the Moon
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

The LWP says: A biblical reference to a time that the Lamb will dwell with wild beasts. Peace. Strength to get above the mundane.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card symbolizes the growth and harmony that can develop when our more intellectual nature (the winged woman) can peacefully co-exist with our wilder, more primitive, animal side. The lambs and rabbit show that there is no need to fear or run from our wilder nature. If we are able to embrace that part of ourself then we can create the oasis in the middle of the hard cruel world. We can tame out inner beast but not by chains and shock treatment, by loving it and embracing it. If we try to run, that side of ourselves it will only catch up and devour us whole. We have to face it and learn to live with and love it. If we can feel the joy and the fire in ourselves, but learn how to keep it from consuming us, we may find our lives verdant, abundant and rich with unrealized treasures.

I really love the visual image on this card. It is both exuberant and calm, wild and serene. It graphically shows the meaning of Strength – if we can embrace our wildness then we can experience the growth and tranquility of the garden. Otherwise we are forced into the barren and rocky surrounding area, alone and lost.

The Empowerer – Celtic Wisdom Tarot

Celtic Wisdom Empowerer

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says: The Empowerer shows Andraste, Goddess of Victory. “She Who is Unconquerable” was invoked by Queen Boudicca in her insurrection against the Romans. Female warriors were a part of Celtic society; growing boys and girls were entrusted to them for their battle training.
Keywords: Fortitude, courage, energy, resolution, action, defiance, challenging that which is commonly accepted, tireless efforts, the appetite to live life, drawing on deep resources.
Reversed: Weakness, vacillation, dispiritedness, indifference, succumbing to prevailing influences, failure of nerve.
Soul Wisdom: The Empowerer of Will gives us the courage to be strong and powerful in our lives, by using our own energies with intention. What powers lie untapped within you?

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This image is a reminder that sometimes we need to take actions that put us at risk and force us to plumb the depths of our endurance and inner strength. Boudicca is an example the sometimes the easier path is not necessarily the right path. If Boudicca had chosen not to fight the Romans it is likely that she and her daughters would have lived, but what kind of life?  And what would the impact have been on her people? Would we remember her name now? She looked deep within herself and realized that her personal code of ethics would not allow her to remain passive in this situation. But the sign of a true warrior is not just the ability to win in battle; it is acting with courage and honor, and following your own code of ethics, even if the rest of society disagrees. It is the classic argument over war. What is better – peace at any price or drawing the line in the sand and being willing to defend it. There is no easy answer to this question and it is something we must all answer for ourselves.

Challenging and rough periods in our lives are what forms us and makes us who we are. If life was always a smooth path, we would never know how high we could climb or what we can achieve. As Jim Kirk points out in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – our pain is what makes us who we are. The Empowerer shows us how to tap into this energy and use it to our advantage. She is a reminder that not all victories in life are physical ones, but learning to tap into this power is the first step towards achieving victory in your life.

Strength – Wheel of Change Tarot

Wheel of Change Strength

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997

The Book says: When this card comes up in your reading, pay attention to what you have passion for and use this passion to further your life. This is a card of enormous courage, vitality, and power to achieve anything within your imagining. The power you have is not a power over others but a power from within, a strength you have that is really your own. You do not need to hold it over others, but if you use this inner strength calmly, many others, by example, may discover this most powerful strength. This is also a card of initiation; just as the new woman is initiated into womanhood when her menstruation comes, you are initiated into something new and special when this card comes up in your reading. It is a good time to begin something new that you love and have a passion for. Like the blooming gorse, you will blossom into something bright and lovely. It is a special time for love and sexuality or for the passions that arise from anything truly moving. You are moving away from the control of others and can make your own decisions.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: Her banner shows that she is comfortable with both her lunar and her solar natures. Her expression is one of sheer joy and excitement – finally she can ride the lioness too! She has learned the self-control and mastery needed to control the lioness without any visible means – just her body language. She and the lioness are one, joined in their goal and their destination. She has passed the necessary tests and achieved the maturity needed to continue onto the next phase of her journey. I just love the energy and excitement visible in this card.

I have a special affinity for Strength (being a Leo Sun) and this is one of my favorite versions of the Strength card. This card embodies the solar side of female nature. This is that wild, untamed, physical side which revels in the warmth of the Sun on our bodies. This is that part of us that wants everything out in the open, revealing all facets of herself and not caring whether others approve. At the same time she represents the inner strength, fortitude and ability to proceed along her journey, no matter how challenging it may become. I want to be this woman, riding forward with joy and excitement, confident that I can overcome whatever obstacles are in my way and in my ability to maintain my connection with the lioness and the natural world around me. Can’t you just hear strains of Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman “I am woman hear me roar in numbers to great to ignore”

Tarot Truth Tyr’s Day: The Chariot – Blue Rose Tarot

Blue Rose Chariot

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: The Chariot symbolizes the active realization of those concepts by getting out there and participating in Life. And you begin with the basics; navigating through the world, getting to know the other players, learning how to fend for yourself, cloth yourself, educate yourself. Control yourself.

The Chariot card is all about mastery and control. And in most cases, when you first attempt to control a situation, you exert a lot of energy and concentration. It’s a kind of “brute force” attempt to navigate one’s way through a situation, issue, relationship, whatever. You rely upon great strength of will. You constantly employ the concept that every action results in an equal but opposite reaction.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: When I first looked at this card I didn’t see the monitor, I saw it as representing people heading to the “big city” to find success, money or themselves. It reminded me of the expression “all roads lead to Rome”; if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. All of which I though fit The Chariot card – the desire to steer your own course, follow your own destiny. The need to move beyond your starting point (home town) and move on to a bigger challenge. Then when I realized that it was representing the electronic age, the information superhighway – it added an additional layer to the meaning.

On the Internet there is a need to be focused on your goals and aims, to have an idea where you are heading and how to get there. Without this focus and aim you can find yourself spending hours doing absolutely nothing but roaming without direction. You may have a goal in front of you but it is very easy to get lost on a byway or side route. There is also, unfortunately, a serious need for cautious and taking steps to protect yourself. Some strange and dangerous people populate the Internet just waiting for someone to cross their path.

The Internet also demands a certain amount of self-control and discipline. Communicating with people online can be tricky. One misplaced word can lead to a flame war of immense proportions. So The Chariot can also represent the need for maturity and responsibility. It can be so easy to send off a letter shredding someone else’s opinion to bits without giving a second thought, something many of us would never do in person. But the anonymity of the Internet seems to release us from some of the controls we usually place on our tongues. The Blue Rose Chariot card is a reminder and a representation of all the potential and the lure of such freedom. The road lies gleaming ahead of us and it is up to us whether we steer through it following some of the basic rules of the road or being a road hog, leaving pockets of road rage in our wake.

Tarot Truth Tyr’s Day: Challenge – Transformational Tarot

Transformational Challenge

Transformational Tarot
Created by Arnell Ando
Published by Ink Well Publishing
ISBN #0-9649386-3-4

The Book says: A time of challenge. Victory over obstacles. The first cycle complete and a new confidence is born out of this coming full circle. A desire to balance the left and right brain, the creative and the logical, and/or the physical and spiritual forces within. This card stands for progress, strong will taking action, self-discipline and inner direction. It can also suggest a struggle with a conflict of interests (such as, moving on or staying with the present situation).

TarotBroad’s Buzz: To me this card represents being willing to take on authority, defying conventional wisdom to find your own path. It is about being willing to take risks in order to stay true to yourself. It does have a somewhat adolescent energy – that absolute conviction, which borders on arroagance, that you are always right and that you will live forever. The belief that danger is really only a transient thing and charging forward in search of new and more exciting experiences. In my former job, I worked with a lot of teenagers. Some could be quite rude about their infallibility while others were a bit more tolerant because how can a grown up understand what they are going through. And as I watched them I realized that I might be able to slow their chariot down for a brief moment but I couldn’t stop it or change its course. I could only try to help pad the chariot so that if they crash it won’t be too devastating. But this phase is definitely part of growing up.

I still occasionally cringe when I hear my adolescent voice in my mind. It reeks with the assurance that I am so much smarter than anyone else in my life and that I am always right. Whew! I give my mother credit – I would have sold me to a pack of vagabonds if I were her. But the Chariot reminds us that sometimes we need to just ahead and shake up the status quo – otherwise we miss opportunities for growth and learning.